Three more bowls on tap Saturday
Alright, after three solid bowl games on Friday (I went 2-1 with Houston being the loss) three more are on tap Saturday. The games will feature one conference co-champion, a head coach coaching his 500th game, and a running back 181 yards shy of the single season rushing record. Included are another head coach who's been connected to some of the bigger job openings, an interim head coach and the SEC Coach of the Year. Here are quick previews of these three games.
Meineke Car Care Bowl- Charlotte, NC
1 PM EST, ESPN
Connecticut vs. Wake Forest
OK, a couple of trends are going to clash in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. The ACC has only lost this game once in its short history, and that one defeat came at the hands of a team now in the ACC (Boston College). However, UConn's Randy Edsall won the tire change contest at Charlotte Motor Speedway earlier this week, and the winning coach in this event has gone on to win the game every time. On a serious note, the Huskies (Big East Co-Champions) and Demon Deacons have combined to force 61 turnovers and score 18 non-offensive touchdowns. Keep an eye on Wake's Kenneth Moore, a wide receiver who can gash foes either in the receiving game or on the ground. Due to my rooting interest in this game, I will not make a pick on here. But I think you know which way I'm leaning.
AXA Liberty Bowl- Memphis, TN
4:30 PM EST, ESPN
Central Florida vs. Mississippi State
My original hope was to see the Conference USA champs match up with Arkansas, giving viewers a Kevin Smith vs. Darren McFadden/Felix Jones duel. But with McFadden dodging accusations of being bought a car by agent Mike Conley Sr., he may not get to play in his bowl. Instead, people get to see firsthand the masterful job done by SEC Coach of the Year Sylvester Croom. Most people's first (and lasting) image of the Bulldogs is when LSU tore them apart 45-0 in the season opener. But they didn't hang their heads, instead continuing to buy into Croom's philosophy, which demands discipline. They won't wow you with big plays, but these Bulldogs will hit you in the mouth...repeatedly. Which may actually mean a better match for Smith, who stands 181 yards shy of Barry Sanders' single-season rushing record. And with Smith already announcing that he'll be back next season, this game could kick-start a Heisman campaign in 2008. I don't see Smith getting the record, but I like the Golden Knights to win a close one with QB Kyle Israel doing some damage through the air.
Valero Alamo Bowl- San Antonio, TX
8 PM EST, ESPN
Penn State vs. Texas A&M
Joe Paterno will be coaching in his 500th game as a head coach against an Aggie program being run by defensive coordinator Gary Darnell until the game ends. Then the newly hired Mike Sherman will take over in College Station. Of course, this game has made the news this week thanks to some idiotic comments by an Aggie yell leader, who was promptly sent back to College Station afterwards (and kudos to the fans who booed him as well). But this game boils down to two things: can Anthony Morelli close out his college career with a solid performance in a big game? And, how much can the Aggies produce through the air? We all know that QB Stephen McGee and running backs Jorvorskie Lane and Mike Goodson can run the ball, but so do Penn State linebackers Dan Connor and Sean Lee. I'm not expecting too many points in this one, but I like the Nittany Lions to give Coach Paterno a belated present for his 81st birthday.